Redskins await `painful' process of trimming roster

Receivers, running backs still sweating decisions

September 01, 2005|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

About half of the Washington Redskins can rest easy knowing their spot on the roster -- and position on the depth chart -- is safe.

Then there's the other half that will get a final chance to make a lasting impression in tonight's final preseason game against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium.

Logjams at wide receiver and running back likely will receive the greatest attention from the Washington coaching staff, which must trim the roster to 53 players by Saturday night.

It's a process that coach Joe Gibbs does not anticipate with great fervor.

"It's painful for you because you don't like it," he said. "You've got a lot of real good guys there that have worked very hard and put everything they've got into it. It's just the rules up here that kind of take care of all that."

One of the areas that Gibbs will scrutinize is the receiving corps. Santana Moss, David Patten and James Thrash have secured their positions. That leaves Taylor Jacobs, Antonio Brown, Kevin Dyson, Jamin Elliott, Rich Parson and Jimmy Farris battling for the final two spots.

Complicating matters is the sprained toe that has sidelined Jacobs since the Redskins' scrimmage against the Ravens on Aug. 6. Before the injury, Jacobs had been praised by Gibbs for his conditioning and attention to detail.

Now, even Jacobs knows the injury could jeopardize a third season with the organization that selected him in the second round of the 2003 draft.

"It's in the back of my mind, but it's a situation where I can't do anything about it," said Jacobs, who likely won't play tonight. "I've just got to keep being persistent with my treatment and keep trying to get better."

At running back, starter Clinton Portis and backup Ladell Betts are safe. The question is whether fourth-year veteran Rock Cartwright can hold off a stiff challenge from rookie Nehemiah Broughton.

In the punting competition, meanwhile, Andy Groom, a second-year player, earned praise from Gibbs in the past two preseason games while incumbent Tom Tupa was nursing a back injury.

Tupa was placed on injured reserve Tuesday and is out for the season, and the team has signed 16-year veteran Chris Mohr to compete with Groom.

On the defensive side, cornerbacks Shawn Springs, Carlos Rogers and Walt Harris will be at the season opener against the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field. Ade Jimoh, Eric Joyce, Rufus Brown and Garnell Wilds will try to lock up spots.

Linebackers Marcus Washington, Lemar Marshall, Warrick Holdman, LaVar Arrington and Chris Clemons aren't going anywhere. Khary Campbell, Brandon Barnes, Zak Keasey and Robert McCune might.

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